Celebrations International Travel Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Paris

I came across this photo in today’s headlines….The image was reportedly captured by someone in an apartment.   Read More


I came across the picture of the Starbucks location at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona:

Starbucks at Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Starbucks at Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Considering that Sagrada Familia is a church, I can’t decide if this Starbucks takes the cake over the controversial new McDonald’s about to open in the Louvre in Paris.

What do you think?

I am amazed at the response that my post from yesterday entitled McDonald’s in the Louvre!  I had no idea that it would generate such a buzz.  Thank you to everyone who has visited the blog, left comments, and referred others to view it.  And a big thank you to WordPress for listing Celebrations International Travel’s blog on their homepage.

In the spirit of fairness, I must tell you that I enjoy a McDonald’s hamburger, Chicken McNuggets, and french fries just as much as the next guy, just not all the time, and certainly not on vacation at the Louvre.  The reason why I included the words “all the time” is because many Europeans (especially the French) have long held tight to the notion that all Americans eat McDonald’s (or whatever fast-food) and chug down soda incessantly.  I am speaking, of course, of the most stereotypical of viewpoints.  I must confess:  I love my Coke, but I did go six weeks without it once in France because it was so expensive at the time.

But just because Coke’s my favorite and I eat McDonald’s sometimes doesn’t make me a stereotypical American, whatever anybody’s idea of that is.  Nor does it mean that I agree with or understand the decision to let McDonald’s take up residence inside the Louvre!  No, I don’t think the golden arches, or any other fast-food restaurant for that matter, are a good fit for the ancient grounds of the Louvre.  Frankly, I think the whole connotation is disrespectful to the institution of the Louvre.  I can only hope that the controversy over this topic is directed at a clash of cultural ideals and not intended as purely anti-American sentiment.

After all this talk of “no fast food,” I thought I’d show you my idea of what classic French cuisine entails.  As culinary travel specialists, we endeavor to share with our travelers the best that each destination has to offer, whether it be five-star cuisine or home cooking.  What’s important to us is quality and good taste.  All tours are customized for your family or group, so the sample itineraries are provided to inspire you!

We invite you to browse our sample itineraries for all culinary travel destinations currently featured and let us know your thoughts.

Today’s announcement that McDonald’s is opening in the Louvre Museum next month is very upsetting to me, although I can’t really say I’m surprised.

When I learned about the Louvre in high school history and French classes, there was never any mention of the modernization that now affects the Louvre.  That was because it was before I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid was ever constructed, and before fast-food giant McDonald’s decided to take up residence in the historical treasure.  We were taught to admire not only the museum’s collections, but also the history, architecture, and work of art that is the Louvre itself.

As an ardent traveler and a travel agent, I prize the historical significance and preservation of all sites such as the Louvre.  Just as I can understand that there was a need to better accommodate the Louvre’s thousands of visitors by excavating over the site of the pyramid, I can understand the need to provide more food service and amenities for visitors.  However, just as I will never understand the decision to build a modern glass pyramid in the middle of this ancient treasure of a site, I will never understand how or why McDonald’s is opening in the Louvre.

It’s been a long time since I lived in France, and even back then the French “destested” the idea of fast food, disdaining it as an American institution completely contrary to traditional French (and largely European) ideals of hearty foods, prepared with pride and respect for tradition.  When I say this, I’m not even speaking of the Haute Cuisine that France is so renowned for.  Instead, I’m speaking of everyday foods that bourgeois (upper middle to upper class) families enjoy at home.  I shudder to think how chefs in Haute Cuisine circles feel today.

In my personal experience, I remember trying hard to explain to French host families and others I came in contact with that fast food isn’t all that Americans eat, and that that portrayal on TV is erroneous.  The furthest I ever made it with that conversation was to have someone tell me “But there is no “American” food, it’s all imitations of European food!”

For Frenchmen to now hear that McDonald’s is about to become a fixture in their national museum, “Quel horreur!”  I can’t imagine what the museum leadership was thinking!

Here’s a look at what my idea of food is true cuisine, no matter where in the world your travels take you.

As a footnote of contrast, a bustling little restaurant I once visited just outside the Centre Georges Pompidou (the Museum of Modern Art in Paris) was much more befitting:  Au Pied de Cochon, “At the Pig’s Feet”, serving delectable French cuisine.  In my mind, that’s more like it!

What do you think of today’s news?  Post a message and let me know!

We’ve added a sample itinerary for a Northern France Culinary Tour to our Culinary Travel Homepage.   Check it out, and let us know if you might be interested.  Remember, these are only suggested itineraries and can be customized to suit you and your traveling companions.

I’ll write about my own experiences in France in future posts, but for now, Bon Appetit!

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This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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